FAIRMONT, W.Va (WDTV)- Over 600 local middle school students gathered at the I-79 Technology Park Research Center for two days of science education. NASA's Independent Verification & Validation Program invited the seventh graders to take part in this year's "Day in the Park" events.
Many different carnival-style booths were set up for the young students to learn about science. Kids were able to hear about various NASA missions. Some booths even offered hands-on projects, including rocket building and robotics.
Providing information on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics (STEM) careers was a main focus of the event. Event coordinators hope to increase interest in scientific studies and jobs. Recent national trends show declining fascination in the industry.
Despite these national trends, many students in attendance were enthusiastic about one of their favorite subjects. One Buckhannon Upshur student, Aaliyah Buckley-Cameron, wanted to be a scientist since she was 7 years old.
"It is a world of unknown and there is so much to be discovered," Aaliyah said. "I want to be someone that they can say 'she's the one who discovered this!""
NASA invited guest-speaker and Emmy-nominated TV host Emily Calandrellli to help spark the students' interest. NAME says having a West Virginia native and West Virginia University alumna proves to the young kids that people from the area are capable of doing anything they put their minds to.
"She has a unique perspective," Program Manager Todd Ensign said. "She is a native West Virginian and can speak to the kids from her own personal experience."
Calandrelli has been a correspondent for "Bill Nye Saves the World" on Netflix. She also is a producer and host of FOX's "Xploration Outer Space" program. Additionally, Calandrelli is a science writer and host for "Discovery News" and writer for "TechCrunch."
The event was in partnership with Fairmont State Universtiy and NASA IV&V Program's Educator Resource Center to support the future of science.